We started our day at Ground Zero...which is the current construction site for ONE World Trade Center. As we walked closer to the site, we decided to stop at a local shop to purchase a flower to place at the scene in order to pay our respects to all that lost their lives that tragic day, to all those who survived the terror, and to all those who were affected by the horrific events. It was a sad and cathartic experience all at the same time. The pain of the past transitioning into the persistence of a people and a city to rebuild and to thrive. I cannot wait to see the project at its completion, with the commemorative reflection pools and the towering structure with its symbolic beacon of light and hope. And, although the experience was lost on Finnley at her young age, I am happy that she was there with us. One day she will understand, and I believe that she will reflect on first trip to this meaningful place with appreciation and awe.
After leaving the site, we flagged down a taxi to take us to Times Square to get our fill of some lights, smells, and funky noises. Finnley was a bit uneasy and unsure since she wasn't strapped into a car seat, but she quickly realized how COOL that could be...FREEDOM! She stood up, looked out the back window, sat back down, and just took it all in. After a bit of time in the car, she decided she wanted OUT! That might have something to do with the way taxi cars flit about the city with honking horns, zippy turns, and a race car attitude. Regardless, she hung in there until we arrived at our next destination: Toys 'R Us.
What can you say about a gigantic toy store in the middle of a gigantic city? Over-stimulation to the max! It delivered. Finnley didn't know where to look first or what to touch next. We spent some time there hitting each floor and checking out a bit of everything, and we managed to leave without spending a dime! That has to be something of an anomaly, but we were pretty proud of ourselves.
Next on the agenda was a bite to eat at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. It was close. It has good food. It is a great place for a toddler to eat. It worked perfectly. Finnley spent the first ten minutes at our table stacking, placing, moving, and re-stacking approximately 10 red, white, and blue plastic plates. It was an obvious process, and one in which Finnley was fully enthralled. She took a break to do some coloring before our lunch arrived. We made quick work of our food, and then walked with a purpose to our last stop...M&M World!
A shop that is all about chocolate and truly smells like chocolate? Heaven! The only negative thing about the place is the cost! But, once you are in the door...how do you resist buying a bag of candy??? You can't, and they know it. So, we left that store with one small bag and one even smaller bag of candy. Cost? $17.00. No joke. Whatever, we were all happy!
For our grand finale, we found our way to a subway station on 50th and jumped a train back to the Battery Park section of the city. Again, Finnley was a bit tenative when we started...but she quickly fell in love. She kept walking from my seat across the aisle to Matt's seat. She would look and point and squeal. She repeated "I ride choo-choo" over and over again. The mass transit system of NYC did not disappoint this toddler. Not.One.Bit.
This day was short and long all at the same time, and it exhausted Finnley completely. Two minutes after being buckled into her car seat and us getting back on the road, Finnley was passed out. I am pretty sure we will be back to THE city again soon. Paying tribute and playing around. Our girl seemed to love it, and I know that we did, too.